Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day is a day of remembrance. I think first of my father who served in the Navy in World War II. His picture, in his uniform, is on the buffet across sthe room from me as I type this. A handsome young man. I can look at pictures that he took of me when I was approximately the same age and see the resemblance. I remember him, his service and his devotion and miss him today. I think next of my Grandpa, Papa's father, who served in the Army in World War I and fortunately was not shipped out. He spent his time in Newport News Virginia where he was joined by his wife, Marguerite, and where my father was born in 1920. I found Grandpa's record in the genealogy files online some years ago when I was doing research and the internet was so new to me. Marguerite's little brother, Gordon, who looks out of another family picture as a small boy in knee pants and Little Lord Fauntleroy curls, did see duty in the trenches in France and family memory says he was injured by mustard gas. His record, that I found online, did not mention that. But a letter Marguerite wrote to her sister Cecelia, which I am fortunate enough to have, inquires about him and mentions "terrible injuries". Before them, two generations farther back, Grandpa had a grand uncle who served in a Michigan Cavalry unit in the Civil War. He died comparatively young, in his early forties of lung problems and tuberculosis. He was on Sherman's march to the sea. His name was Frederick, too, like my father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

We are not a military family, but I am proud of thesew men, good Catholics, fathers, ordinary people full of kindness who served their country when she called and doubtlessly carried the shadows with them for the rest of their lives. Would we could do away with war, that the price of freedom was not so high. Simply today I give thanks, and I remember. Thank you, Papa, Grandpa and great-grand uncle Frederick.

My thanks as well to my friends who madee their careers in the military, not a popular thing to do. I have respect and gratitude to you; you know who you are.

No comments: